What Is Plaque and Tartar Removal?
Plaque and tartar removal is performed during routine dental cleanings. Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth after eating or drinking. If plaque buildup isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. Plaque and tartar buildup can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems.
How Does it Form?
Plaque formation occurs when bacteria in the mouth mix with saliva, food particles, and other natural substances. It creates a sticky white film that coats the teeth and gums. Dental plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria that produce acid and toxins that cause tooth decay and gum disease when not removed.
When left untreated, plaque hardens into tartar. Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is a hard, yellow, or brown substance that forms when plaque mineralizes on the teeth. It can only be removed by a dental professional.
While brushing and flossing twice a day can help prevent plaque buildup, there are still hard spots to reach in your mouth. That’s why keeping up with regular dental appointments is so essential in maintaining good oral hygiene.
The Benefits of Plaque and Tartar Removal
Plaque and tartar removal has numerous benefits, including:
- Prevents tooth decay and cavities
- Prevents gum disease
- Helps keep your tooth enamel strong
- Reduces bad breath
- Keeps teeth looking and feeling clean
- Maintains overall dental health
When Plaque and Tartar Removal Is Necessary
Plaque and tartar removal is necessary for anyone who wants to maintain good oral health. While most patients need dental cleanings twice a year, some may need it more than others, including:
- People who smoke or use tobacco
- People with braces or other dental appliances
- People with a history of gum disease or cavities
- People who have a dry mouth
- People with a diet high in sugar or carbohydrates
Those who fall into the categories above will typically need dental cleanings every three to four months instead of every six months. They’re more prone to developing tartar and plaque buildup and their dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings to avoid periodontal disease and fight cavities.
How the Plaque and Tartar Removal Process Works
Removing plaque buildup and tartar is a straightforward procedure that typically takes place during routine dental cleanings. You can expect to experience the following:
- Examination: Your dentist or dental hygienist will examine your teeth to determine the extent of plaque buildup and tartar.
- Scaling: Using a special tool, your dental hygienist will scrape away dental plaque and hardened tartar from the surface of your teeth. This process is called scaling.
- Polishing: Once the plaque and tartar are removed, your dental hygienist will polish your teeth using special toothpaste.
- Fluoride Treatment: Finally, they may apply a fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth from future decay. Depending on your dental health, they may also recommend dental sealants to prevent tooth decay and protect against other problems.
The length of your dental cleaning will vary depending on the extent of plaque buildup on your teeth. However, it typically takes around 30 minutes to complete.
Caring for Your Teeth After a Dental Cleaning
After any dental plaque and tartar have been removed, it’s essential to care for your teeth properly to maintain good oral health. Some tips for caring for your teeth after your professional cleaning include:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily to remove any remaining plaque and food particles.
- Use mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
- Avoid smoking or using tobacco products.
- Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is plaque removal painful?
No, plaque removal is typically painless. However, some people may experience mild discomfort or sensitivity during the cleaning. This is because the dental professional is scraping away plaque and tartar from your teeth, which can cause some sensitivity or discomfort. Should you experience severe pain during the procedure, let your dentist know immediately.
Can I remove plaque and tartar at home?
While regular brushing and flossing can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup, it’s not possible to remove tartar at home. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque that can only be removed by a dental professional using specialized tools. However, you can prevent tartar buildup by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and following a healthy diet.
Can plaque and tartar lead to other health problems?
Yes, there’s evidence to suggest that poor oral health, including plaque and tartar buildup, can contribute to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The bacteria in plaque can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation, leading to these and other health problems. That’s why it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing and scheduling regular dental checkups.
What should I expect after plaque and tartar removal?
You may experience some sensitivity or soreness in your teeth and gums, for a day or two following the procedure. It’s also common to experience some bleeding when brushing or flossing. However, if the bleeding persists or you experience any severe pain or swelling, you should contact your dentist.
Our Staten Island Dentists Can Keep Your Smile Clean and Healthy
Removing plaque and tartar is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. By having your teeth cleaned regularly and following proper dental care habits, you can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. Remember to visit your local dentist at least twice a year and follow their recommendations for maintaining good oral health.
To schedule a dental cleaning with our Staten Island dentists, contact us today!
We accept many insurances. Please contact one of our Insurance Coordinators to discuss your dental coverage plan.
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